Press Release:

Financial Woman of the Year to be Honored at Major Bay Area Event

Financial Women of San Francisco’s Sellout Event Raises Record $330,000 for Scholarships
As FWSF Celebrates the Organization’s 60th Anniversary

SAN FRANCISCO, C.A., September 21, 2016 – More than 700 guests will participate in the 21st annual Financial Woman of the Year luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco this September 21st. This year’s luncheon has broken all prior records by raising more than $330,000 for the Financial Women of San Francisco (FWSF) Scholarship Fund. These funds directly benefit rising stars in the San Francisco Bay Area who are pursuing a career in finance or in the financial services industry, including the 2016 scholarships recipients.

Debbie MessemerAt the event FWSF will honor Debbie Messemer, Managing Partner of KPMG’s Bay Area Market, as the 2016 Financial Woman of the Year, the organization’s highest honor. Messemer is being recognized for her boundless energy and dedication to the advancement of women in financial services, and for serving as a role model who has broken through the barriers to success. The event will also celebrate FWSF’s 60th anniversary, helping women advance in finance and break through career barriers.

Photo: John Crane Films

“When women rise to a senior position in finance and financial services, there is a legacy effect. Women tend to hire other women. Women in senior positions also serve as role models for women inside and outside their organizations, showing them that barriers can be broken. Having good role models for women can be transformational and invaluable for propelling their careers forward. I’m proud to be part of that effort,” said Messemer, who has been a member of FWSF since the 1990s.

“It is a real privilege to receive this honor.  I hope to instill excitement in women considering and currently working in the financial industry and be a voice to help raise scholarship funds so that younger women, who might not have had that opportunity otherwise, can pursue their dreams of a career in finance or financial services.”

Darcy Illg, president of the Financial Women of San Francisco, said Messemer’s enthusiasm and dedication to the organization is evident into her unwavering commitment to supporting women in finance.

“This Luncheon is an opportunity to recognize Debbie Messemer for her inspiring leadership, and her commitment to supporting women in finance, her profession and the community,” said Illg.

“Debbie Messemer stands for everything we represent at FWSF. It’s also the chance for us to share the stories of our scholarship recipients, those who will be the next generation of women leaders in finance.

The 11 FWSF scholarship winners of 2016 and their personal stories will be highlighted at the event, and their stories are inspiring. Among them include an immigrant who is making strides her family only dreamed for her and dedicates her success to her mother, who taught her the importance of being financially independent. Another winner grew up being told that being a woman of color and pursuing a career in finance was unconventional and she set out to prove them wrong. She is now studying at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a major in accounting. Another young woman had big dreams to work on Wall Street, but didn’t see any other LGBT or women of color role models. She set out to challenge the mold and is attending Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, while mentoring LGBT youth helping them find success in their lives and careers. To date, FWSF has awarded $2 million dollars in scholarships over the past 30 years to more than 200 Bay Area women.

The Financial Woman of the Year award and celebratory luncheon, was established in 1996 to celebrate the organization’s 40th Anniversary. Past FWSF Presidents Leslie Miller and Shelly Porges created the “Financial Woman of the Year” event with triple purposes: to raise funds for FWSF’s scholarship program, to create greater awareness of the FWSF, and to promote careers of the most senior women in finance. Throughout the years, it has provided a platform for high-achieving winners to share their professional experience with others, inspiring them in their ambitions and careers. Messemer joins a distinguished list of previous honorees, including Carrie Dolan, former chief financial officer (CFO) of Lending Club, Sarah Friar, CFO of Square, and Pat Yarrington, CFO of Chevron.  

For more information about the Financial Woman of the Year program, scholarships or to become a sponsor, click here.

About The Financial Women of San Francisco

Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Financial Women of San Francisco seeks to advance the success of women in finance and financial services and to be a source of insight and inspiration to financial women executives and managers throughout the Bay Area. 

The organization’s membership includes women in positions of influence within the financial services sector and women who hold senior level positions within non-finance companies, government agencies and the non-profit sector.

Members include CEOs, CFOs, corporate treasurers, CPAs, attorneys, commercial and private bankers, investment advisors, fund managers, securities analysts, administrators, financial planners, consultants, recruiters and marketers.

For more information please visit or follow the Financial Women of San Francisco on Twitter @FinanceWomenSFFacebook and LinkedIn.


KPMG LLP, the audit, tax, and advisory firm (, is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s member firms have 174,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 155 countries.

About Debbie Messemer

With a background in banking and accounting, Messemer joined KPMG in 1982 in their Fort Worth office and in 1998 transferred to their San Francisco office. In 2008 she became KPMG’s first San Francisco female Managing Partner and today leads a team of over 1,100 high-performing audit, tax, and advisory professionals.

Media contacts:

Adrianna Webster                 
Harden Communications Partners

Patricia Harden
Harden Communications Partners


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